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No chronic wasting disease in latest test results: Herds in Brainerd and Mountain Iron released from quarantine

A Minnesota DNR employee removes lymph nodes from a white-tailed deer at a registration station to test for chronic wasting disease. Minnesota DNR photo.

ST. PAUL—Five white-tailed deer traced out of an infected herd in Merrifield tested negative for chronic wasting disease.

Four of the deer were tested from a herd in Brainerd, and a single deer was tested from a herd in Mountain Iron. Those farms are released from quarantine because of the negative test results. Working with the United States Department of Agriculture and the herd owners, the Minnesota Board of Animal Health gathered samples from the suspect deer and sent them to the National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa, for official testing.

The board's investigation showed deer were moved to four other Minnesota farms during the five-year trace-back period from the Merrifield farm. The board shares information with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, which responds to and manages CWD in wild deer. The board regulates farmed deer, and it works with the USDA as it investigates CWD cases.

CWD is a disease of deer and elk caused by an abnormally shaped protein, a prion, which can damage brain and nerve tissue. There is no danger to other animal species. The disease is most likely transmitted when infected deer and elk shed prions in saliva, feces, urine, and other fluids or tissues. The disease is always fatal and there are no known treatments or vaccines. CWD is not known to affect humans, through consuming infected meat is not advised.

Recap of current CWD investigations of farmed deer in Minnesota:

• Merrifield (Crow Wing County): Herd of origin for the current CWD investigation. Positive CWD test from two white-tailed deer. Remains under quarantine.

• Dassel (Meeker County): Positive CWD test from one white-tailed deer. Remains under quarantine.

• Freeport (Stearns County): No CWD tests conducted. Remains under quarantine.

• Brainerd (Crow Wing County): Negative CWD test from four white-tailed deer. Released from quarantine.

• Mountain Iron (St. Louis County): Negative CWD test from one white-tailed deer. Released from quarantine.